David Cameron risks causing “alienation” in society by saying Britain is a “Christian country”, a group of public figures has warned.

Author Sir Terry Pratchett was among 50 signatories of a letter to the Daily Telegraph saying Britain was a largely “non-religious society”.

The PM said the UK should be “more confident” about its Christianity, a view No 10 says he has stated before.

Faith leaders have said they are “very comfortable” with Mr Cameron’s views.

Letter to the Daily Telegraph
The open letter’s signatories included author Philip Pullman, performer Tim Minchin, journalist Polly Toynbee, philosopher AC Grayling and presenter Dan Snow.

Its lead signatory was Professor Jim Al-Khalili, president of the British Humanist Association.

The group said it respected the prime minister’s right to his own religious beliefs, but said: “We object to his characterisation of Britain as a ‘Christian country’ and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders.”

“Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a ‘Christian country’.

“Constantly to claim otherwise fosters alienation and division in our society,” the letter said.

‘Multi-faith society’

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the assertion Britain is a Christian country was “not factually accurate”.

He said a YouGov poll found 65% of people questioned described themselves as “not religious”, while 29% said they were. He said those people would have come from a range of faiths – not just Christianity.

Mr Tatchell said the evidence shows the is not a Christian country, saying: “We are a multi-faith society, we are also a no-faith society.”

His claims come after figures released by the ONS following the 2011 census found that, despite a drop of four million in the number of people who said they were Christians in England and Wales from 2001, 59% of residents still described themselves as Christian.

Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod, the highest governing body of the Church of England, said she was glad Mr Cameron had the “confidence” to talk about his faith and was “absolutely right” to call the UK a “Christian nation”.

She said the UK was “historically and culturally” Christian.

Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said nobody could deny that the UK remains a largely Christian country with “deep historical and structural links” to Christianity.

He said “a sense of the sacred is to be cherished” but added that the UK would be stronger by “recognising and celebrating” people of multiple faiths and of no faith “living in harmony”.

Anil Bhanot, managing director of the Hindu Council UK, said he was “very comfortable” with the UK being described as a Christian country.

‘Incredibly proud’

In an article for the Church Times earlier this month Mr Cameron said Christians should be “confident” in standing up to defend their values.

The prime minister also spoke of his faith in his Easter message, saying he found “peace” in Christianity.

Downing Street spokeswoman referred to a speech made three years ago by the prime minister where he said the UK was a Christian country and should not be afraid to say so.

“He has said on many occasions that he is incredibly proud that Britain is home to many different faith communities, who do so much to make the UK a stronger country.”

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said Mr Cameron’s comments could be politically “useful”, coming as the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has been “emphasising traditional values”.

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  • MekongDelta69

    “Author Sir Terry Pratchett was among 50 signatories of a letter to the Daily Telegraph saying Britain was a largely ‘non-religious society’.”

    And he is called Sir? Why?
    [Rhetorical question]

    • D.B. Cooper

      SIR Terry Pratchett was knighted in 1998, but hey, if they’re willing to knight Mick Jagger, then anything is possible.

      • Katherine McChesney

        Seems Elizabeth R throws those knighthoods to anyone with a pulse.

        • IstvanIN

          The politicians pick who gets knighted.

        • Romulus

          Kingsley! Or in his case……. Inri (?)
          Just wait till milliband(pede) becomes PM. Geuss who has had a long history of a stranglehold on the UK.

        • David Ashton

          She is told what to do. Not like Queen Elizabeth I nor even Victoria.

      • Romulus

        Sir/ma’am Elton john!

        • D.B. Cooper

          the correct term is “Dame”.

          • Romulus

            Hahaha.
            True dat yo!

  • “Multi-faith society”

    That’s just about as impossible as “multi-racial society.”

    Multi-faith and multi-racial societies aren’t societies, not countries, and certainly not nations. They’re international airports.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Exactly, tell the Muslims that they are living in a “multi – faith” society. I’m sure you will get an interesting answer.

  • D.B. Cooper

    You British (the real ones) thought you took away power from the Royal Family, but you just gave it right back, didn’t you?
    Cameron is a lineal descendant of King William IV by his mistress Dorothea Jordan. Cameron is a 5th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

    Why are you afraid of these “public figures”, Dave?

  • Steven Barr

    Sodomite marriage, abortion till 24 weeks, unregulated gambling and contraceptives for 13 year olds without parental consent. I wish we were a Christian country.

  • Katherine McChesney

    After many years of claiming to be the Defender of the Faith (Protestant), Elizabeth II now proclaims herself the Defender of the Faiths PLURAL. She is also a traitor to her country after having signed five documents to turn Britain into a EU member.

    • Ella

      Just cut off the royal’s funding if they do not want to take pride in their own culture. It’s truly a waste of money if there is no historical significance.

    • IstvanIN

      That was Prince Charles’s suggestion on how his coronation oath should be changed to reflect the changes in British society, not the Queen’s. She does not have political power, she can not in reality refuse royal assent (that wouldn’t be democratic), it is the politicians who are the traitors.

      • David Ashton

        Do not underestimate the commitment of Charles in resisting changes to English society and culture, which can be detected in areas where he can get away with it. The only counterpoint has been his interest in Sufi architecture and “mysticism”, but these are also linked to his opposition to secularism and overpopulation. He could well share the views of King Magnus in Shaw’s “Apple Cart”.

        • IstvanIN

          He does support traditional architecture and the arts. He was also pro-environment (not the nutty kind) back when people thought he was “odd” for his points of view. He very well may be distressed over what is happening. I am of the opinion that a monarch should be able to express their views on any topic they wish. In a kingdom probably the first effort at suppressing the views of the common man, like Emma West, is to start with the top and work your way down. NO ONE should be denied freedom of speech, regardless of position.

          • David Ashton

            Charles also discreetly patronizes Shakespeare, English composers, the traditional village and its economy, regimental traditions, political incorrectness and long-term statesmanship, the Anglican Prayer Book, etc. He puts popular points to ministers in correspondence which has irritated bureaucrats, leftists and republicans. As the future monarch of a nation that includes non-white subjects and as a man of courteous geniality, he is not going to contravene the current establishment race consensus, which add to the clamor for republicanism or succession-jumping. We don’t yet know what will happen over the Scots and EU referenda, or immigration control, but he could well become a Patriot King.

          • IstvanIN

            Did you ever see “To Play The King” about the evil PM who eventually has the King bumped off so he can groom his child?

            I am a firm believer in a monarchy with authority because a monarch has only his people and land to pass down to his son whereas a politician is owned by the monied types.

          • BulgAryan

            The original (British) House of Cards, what a great series!

          • David Ashton

            I shall get hold of it. If you haven’t read it already, have a look at Bernard Shaw’s “Apple Cart” including its preface.

      • Katherine McChesney

        She was in collusion with Tony Blair when she signed England away. The first was signed the week of mourning for Diana.

        • IstvanIN

          And the Queen is some shape-shifter as well? OK, you don’t like the Queen and the Windsors, or maybe monarchy at all, but don’t blame QEII for Britain’s woes.

    • bilderbuster

      It would be nice if Diana’s red headed, rumored bastard, child Harry went on a rampage, slaughtered the whole lot and declared himself king.
      He looked rather splendid in his SS uniform a few years back.

      • David Ashton

        My alternative world would have Charles III reversing the fate of Charles I.

      • Sangraal

        A couple years back Harry spoke of relishing his role as a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan. I don’t condone that war, but at least it shows some spirit, and it’s nice to know he has a few notches in his belt already. How many politicians can say that? Harry’s probably put an end to more jihadis than any British royal since Richard the Lionheart.
        Personally, I’m hoping the young Prince George grows up to be a full-bore reactionary…perhaps an infusion of fresh petit-bourgeois blood into that stale line will stir things up…

        • bilderbuster

          He will either see that that he will be ruling a mostly dark kingdom and put a stop to it or more likely he will be the first royal to convert to Islam if that’s what it takes to hold on to the throne for one more generation.

        • IstvanIN

          Harry seems like a decent sort and if there was a revolution he would fight for his King (William) and his country. I don’t see him as treasonous like the politicians.

  • italian guy

    I wonder what would happen to him if he said: Britain is a white country!

    Public whipping?

    • wildfirexx

      to be accurate, he should have stated a “White British Christian Country”

    • gemjunior

      His resignation…

    • David Ashton

      “…should be….”
      Whipping UP the public…?

  • John K

    Cameron is right, Britain is a Christian country. However, with imbeciles like this “Sir” Terry Pratchett, it won’t be too much longer before Britain becomes an Islamic country; one with a nuclear arsenal.

  • Anglokraut

    Must be an election soon.

  • FozzieT

    Isn’t the Church of England the “official” church of, well…England? Last time I checked, the Church of England was (nominally, at least) Christian. Therefore, England is a Christian country, at least officially.

  • WR_the_realist

    Frankly Cameron is about 50 years out of date. In Great Britain the churches are empty and the mosques are full. Maybe Great Britain should be a Christian country, but it isn’t.

  • LIBERTYSINCURSION

    Funny that they would use the word “alienation”, or should I say “Alien-Nation” to denounce his defining of Britain as a Christian country.

    ( Irony, it’s everywhere these days! )

  • I’m for anything that aggravates liberals. Cameron should start preaching on live television just to enrage the Muslims and whoever else.

  • kjh64

    “He said “a sense of the sacred is to be cherished” but added that the UK would be stronger by “recognising and celebrating” people of multiple faiths and of no faith “living in harmony”.”

    Yeah, like people of multiple faiths or no faith are going to live in harmony. Dream on.

  • NoMosqueHere

    Many british whites are atheists or marginally christian. Cameron should have said Britain is a white and culturally christian nation. But I guess that’s expecting too much.

    But the british are doing nothing to curtail muslim and third world immigration, so it’s a moot point. I just wonder when the shi’ite hits the fan, will the Brits have the gumption to fight for their nation.

    • David Ashton

      The “British” do not govern “Britain”. Multicultural mass-immigration has been pushed on us by a series of frauds.

  • jeffaral

    Since Cameron himself is a Jew, he should have said “Britain is a Judeo-christian country.

    • Clover

      1/8 Jewish blood wasn’t enough even for Hitler to consider someone a “Jew.”

  • David Ashton

    “Cameron decided to introduce same-sex marriage [and] de-Christianised our greatest social bond…. Until quite recently, Christians in Britain could assume the goodwill…of the powerful…. Our beliefs are under attack from influential and militant atheists on the one hand and Muslim extremists on the other.” – Charles Moore, “Daily Telegraph” Comment & Features, April 22, p.15. It is quite possible for British patriots, who have no more real belief in the “Son of God” than many of the Anglican clergy themselves, but who oppose both the leftist secularists of Marxist orientation and the jihad fanatics of Muslim immigration, to defend our national heritage and family values.

  • David Ashton

    Before it became “the Protestant Island” it was for centuries “the Dowry of Mary”. Today it is neither. The social case for both was the restraint on crime and vice, but too many of the remaining clergy seem to think their prime duty is economic provision for non-Christian immigrants. “Only God can make a tree, but can He also make us free?”

  • David Ashton

    I am against republicanism which in Britain and Europe has been an aim of the anti-Christian Left. So don’t read too much or the wrong thing in the point I was making. I support religious tolerance.